Ashton Michael Middleton May 12, 2009

2009 began as a wonderful year in January, when Molly found out that she was pregnant. Southwest airlines was also running a fantastic flight special, so we booked a two week trip to Seattle and Vancouver for May, when Robert was finishing his current project.

On February 5th, we had a doctor's appointment, where we heard the baby’s heartbeat and found out that his due date was September 8th 2009. On February 20th, we went to Mardi Gras in New Orleans and had a great time visiting friends, watching parades, and going to the Bacchus and Orpheus Balls. Robert found an Alaskan cruise on sale at the end of February, so we scheduled the cruise during the time of our trip to Seattle and Vancouver. 

On May 5th, we flew to Seattle, and then drove to Vancouver. On May 6th, we left on our 7 day Alaskan cruise. The first port we arrived at was Juneau on May 8th; where we went on a 6 person Whale Watching tour. After the Whale Watching tour, we had fresh King Crab legs at a shack on the dock. On May 9th, the ship cruised up Glacier Bay National Park, and we were able to get some amazing views of the glaciers. We arrived at our second port of Skagway on May 10th; where we rented a car and drove up the Klondike highway into Canada to look at the mountains, glaciers, and wildlife.

On May 11th, we arrived at our third port of Ketchikan, AK, where we visited the shops and bought some souvenirs to bring back home. Later that afternoon, while we were in a shop across the street from the cruise ship, Molly had to go to the restroom, and felt a gush of water down her leg. 

We immediately went to see the cruise ships doctor, and they quickly determined that her water had broken. They called an ambulance and within 15 minutes, we were at the Ketchikan Hospital. 

Because Molly was only 23 weeks pregnant, they gave her medicine to prevent any contractions. Since the Ketchikan hospital was not equipped to handle deliveries this early, they called the Air Ambulance Service and we were airlifted to Seattle, where we were taken to the Level 3 Neonatal center at Swedish Medical Center, which is the best facility in the region. 

Later that evening after we arrived at the Swedish Medical Center, they did an ultrasound and it showed no reason for Molly’s water to break. Fortunately, Molly had stopped leaking fluid, and there was enough fluid to continue the pregnancy. The doctors told us that they had some patients that had even been able to get to full term before delivery. 

The next day at Noon, they did an amniocentesis test to determine if there was any infection. If there was an infection, they would have to induce labor. Everyone was praying that there would not be an infection, and that we could stay at the hospital in Seattle until Molly delivered at full term in September. Molly’s mother Patsy, and sister Maura, were able to schedule a flight to come up on the next morning.

While we were waiting on the results of the test, Molly started having contractions. Within 15 minutes of the first contraction, they had to rush her to the delivery room where Molly delivered our son Michael Ashton on the evening of May 12th, 2009.

Because he was only 23 weeks old, and the birth had happened so quickly, there was nothing that the doctors could do to help him. Our little angel, Ashton Michael was with us for about 2 hours before he passed. 

Marv Heston, a professional photographer with the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation came and took some wonderful photographs of Ashton Michael before he passed. 

The doctors, thankfully let Ashton stay with us until we left the hospital the next evening. Fortunately, we had also purchased travel insurance for the trip, and they arranged for our flight back to Houston, as soon as we left the hospital.

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